How To Delete All Attachments in iMessage

As Apple’s built-in messaging service, you’re able to use iMessage on any Apple device, including Apple watches. The service has various cool features such as handwriting, on-screen animations, emoji Tapbacks, and more.

However, the service only works if the recipient also uses an Apple device, or it’ll be automatically converted to SMS or MMS. You’ll also need a data service, such as mobile data or Wi-Fi, to use iMessage, or your text messages will be sent as SMS instead. All file attachments, sent and received, are stored on your iPhone or another Apple device.

There will come a time when you might have to start clearing up your storage space. Whether it’s removing old files or attachments in iMessage, it is relatively easy to do.

Clearing Storage Space

Clearing your entire storage folder is the easiest and fastest way to delete everything other than apps that may make your device run slower than usual. By using this method, you will also avoid deleting the messages that come with the attachments.

Other methods involve deleting an entire conversation, attachments included. Having multiple options to make room in the storage folder is always a good thing. Here’s what you have to do to rid your device of all attachments.

  1. Tap the Settings app
  2. Select General, then iPhone Storage
  3. Select Review Large Attachments under the Recommendations section. You may need to tap Show All for Review Large Attachments to be displayed
  4. Tap Edit
  5. Select the attachments that you want to delete
  6. Tap on the trash icon in the top right corner

User Issues

Managing attachments looks rather easy on paper. That may even be true given how simple it is to sort and delete photos and videos. But if that’s the case, then why are so many users complaining?

It’s simple, actually. When you’re sorting through your list of attachments to mark them for deletion, you can’t preview a larger representation. You have to judge each photo and video by the very small thumbnail image.

That can’t help you determine the quality and sometimes not even what’s happening in the picture. You can, however, make an assessment based on the date and the size of the file.

Delete Multiple Attachments from iMessage

If you don’t want to clear all of your storage, you can choose to delete just the attachments received in iMessage.

  1. Open the Message app
  2. Tap on a chat that has attachments you want to delete
  3. Tap the person’s profile picture at the top of the screen
  4. Tap info when it appears
  5. Tap See All Photos on the bottom of the screen
  6. Tap Select and select any attachments from that chat that you want to delete (you can choose images, videos, and documents)
  7. Tap the Delete button in the bottom right of the screen
  8. Tap Delete Messages to confirm your action

You can also delete any documents or links from this page as well.

Setting Up Automatic Message Deletion

If you know you’ll be running low on storage space, you can always configure iMessage to delete incoming messages after a while automatically. By doing this, you will delete the conversation, and all the attachments received.

  1. Open Settings app
  2. Tap Messages
  3. Locate and select Message History
  4. Select Keep Messages
  5. Tap the period of time that works best for you
  6. Select Delete

Another Storage Clearing Trick

Messages can only be automatically deleted if they’re older than 30 days or one year, depending on your choice. If you want to dispose of audio and video messages automatically, you can set lower time frames.

  1. Open Settings app
  2. Tap Messages
  3. Locate the Audio Messages and Video Messages sections
  4. Tap Expire under each one
  5. Select After 2 minutes
  6. Select Never if you want to start saving audio and video messages again

This is another cool way to clear space on your iPhone or iPad. It’s also a nice feature to have activated if you’re afraid of being bombarded with spam or cheesy birthday messages. It saves you the trouble of having to manually dig through the logs to see what’s taking up too much storage capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve included this section to answer more questions about your iMessage attachments.

Can I delete all attachments at once?

Unfortunately, no. While some iOS functions offer a ‘Select All’ option, there isn’t one for message attachments. There is, however, an option to delete all of your iMessages in one thread at one time. All you need to do is long-press one of the texts within a conversation, tap ‘More,’ then tap ‘Delete All.’

You can also delete all iMessages on your phone in the text messaging app. Open the app and tap ‘Edit’ in the upper left corner. Then, tap ‘Delete All.’ This will remove all of your texts, attachments, and conversations.

What do I do if I accidentally deleted an attachment?

After performing the steps above, you may realize that you’ve accidentally deleted an attachment that you need. Fortunately, there are ways to recover precious data that you’ve deleted. First, if you have another Apple device such as an iPad or Mac, check for the attachment in the iMessages app on those devices.

Next, you can check your iCloud. Depending on the time and date of your last backup, the attachment may be in your iCloud account. One way to know if your messages and attachments are backing up is by going to the Settings on your iPhone and tapping on your name at the top. Then, tap ‘iCloud.’ From here, scroll down to ‘Messages’ and see that it’s toggled on.

If you still have yet to find your iMessage attachments, check out this article.

How do I download an iMessage attachment?

Sometimes, it’s better to save an iMessage attachment to your device rather than let it sit in the Message app.

If you need to save a photo or video that was sent to you, follow the same instructions as above to locate the attachments in iMessage. Tap ‘See All,’ then tap on the one you want to save. In the lower-left corner, tap on the share icon. Then, select ‘Save image.’ You can also share the image among other options.

You can do the same thing for any documents that have been sent to you via iMessage.

A Final Thought

No matter how much storage space you have, it’s easy to lose track of the available storage space after a while. While you’re busy downloading music, making personal calls, and watching movies, you can easily forget how many video, image, or audio files you’ve saved from incoming messages.

Although erasing attachments is not complicated, it’s not a good idea to let your device get cluttered to its maximum capacity. What if you want to capture your kid’s first steps, but the camera can’t save the video?

Using some of the tricks in this article, such as the automatic message deletion, may save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

4 thoughts on “How To Delete All Attachments in iMessage”

Bill says:
Good stuff… but is there a way to delete ALL the attachments at once, without individually clicking each one? Kinda frustrating. A “select all” button would be mucho appreciated!
pamela lynn weatherby says:
Question, all of a sudden on my iphone 8Plus, in my text area, when I search now stupid things pop up, bubbles, photos, videos, attachments etc. I did not update the phone but it does have auto update so maybe it had an update that I didnt realize. I HATE HATE this. It is messing up my text searches. How can I remove this?
Lisa says:
When you delete videos and photos from a message, are they gone from your Photos too? I want to make space, but I’m worry I will be deleting valuable photos and videos. Thank you!
Ben Lee says:
same question — did you ever find out?
Magellan says:
It will not remove from photos, so you can still access there.

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